“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy… the will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with a vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’ Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” Isaiah 35.1-6
Yesterday was a gift. The one small day in between two bigger events, I approached with wondering how to best refresh and relax in the time given. And God orchestrated it perfectly. I had friends with my, in my own space, all day long. Music was played, much laughter flowed, even Disney games and cat-naps showed themselves. And the icing on the cake was privilege of having a dear friend over for dinner. Whenever she and I get together, we are both so encouraged. Even though there’s an age gap of more than 20 years between us, life experiences have allowed us to understand the soul-deep struggles and heartaches within one another in a powerful way. One of the many things we discussed last night was the concept of joy. When I was in high school and things were very painful for me most of the time, I began to see how “consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds” could even be possible. As explained in the next verse in James 1, joy means that nothing is wasted. God sees my pain, He knows my pain, and He will make sure that none of it ends up for nothing.
That’s why I love verse 4 of today’s Advent reading. The only way I can be strong when I feel crushed, the only way I can be courageous in the face of gripping fear, my only hope for strength and steadiness is the promise that my God will come. Jesus is with my in my pain, He will be with me on the other side (if there even is one), and, even more gloriously, He is coming back to herald in the day when this will all be over. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus. Come quickly.